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Terraforming John Tobin. Overview What is terraforming? -- planetary engineering to make a world more earthlike Why study terraforming? -- learn more.

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Presentation on theme: "Terraforming John Tobin. Overview What is terraforming? -- planetary engineering to make a world more earthlike Why study terraforming? -- learn more."— Presentation transcript:

1 Terraforming John Tobin

2 Overview What is terraforming? -- planetary engineering to make a world more earthlike Why study terraforming? -- learn more about our own planet -- perhaps essential to our civilization's survival -- possibly recognize extraterrestrial terraforming opterations

3 Crazy Ideas? Terraforming isn't such a crazy idea when compared to our level of technology and the level of technology when other gradiose ideas have been formed. Crazy Ideas that are reality: --Flight (DaVinci late 1400s) --Breaking the sound barrier --Spaceflight (Jules Verne 1870 – From the Earth to the Moon ) --Atomic Energy (Jules Verne 1864 – 20,000 Leagues...) --Computers, personal computers too (Babbage 1800s)

4 Crazy Ideas? Private Spaceflight 2004 Burt Rutan/Mike Melvill Finally: Warp Drive Zephram Cochrane 2061

5 How to Terraform? Canidate Worlds Mars Pros --already has a thin atmosphere --potentially has large amounts of water and CO 2 frozen Cons --need to import large amounts of volitiles --farther from the sun Venus Pros --thick atmosphere already --no shortage of solar heat Cons --slow rotation period, needs to be spun up --must remove large amounts of gas

6 How to Terraform? Canidate Worlds cont... Moon Pros --nearby Cons --low gravity, atmosphere will escape over thousands of years --large amounts of volitiles need to be imported from asteroid belt or outer solar system

7 How to Terraform? Resources Asteroids --Many are rich in water, nitrogen, and carbon, Type: C --Most Type C located in main belt, estimated 75% of all asteroids are Type C Moons --moons of Saturn specifically, many are thought to be rich in ice and other volitile compounds --also, for use as a stabilizing force on the planet to limit precession of the rotational axis Planetary crusts --Mars is thought to be rich in compounds that are locked away in the regolith

8 How to Terraform? Mathilde – NEAR Flyby on 27 July 1997 Type C Asteroid 61 km diameter

9 How to Terraform? Resources cont... Man-made --machines to break down compounds in planetary crust --genetically engineered cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) --super greenhouse gases, CFCs, to induce warming and allow a planet (Mars) to thaw --gases possibly locked in permafrost --mirrors to induce melting of ice caps on Mars --spread dust on icecaps to reduce absorbtion --mirrors or dust put in orbit of inner planets to reduce solar flux Rockets --nuclear, fission or fusion rockets could help solve some problems, it has been proposed that volitiles from asteroids or moons would be used as fuel

10 Nuclear Rockets --NERVA Engine, designed and built during the 1960s --Fission reactor, hydrogen for fuel --250,000 lbs thrust --barely scratches surface of potential

11 Problems of Terraforming Lack of knowledge --Earth's biosphere is still not fully understood --numerous feedback mechanisms are present that are not comprehended or accounted for Technical problems --no proven methods for moving large objects, asteroids and moons --mass-drivers are possible solutions --gravity assists from outer planets --spacecraft are still terribly slow --ideally would want to accelerate at 1G for entire trip --nuclear is a “bad-word” in our society, many political roadblocks to starting nuclear rocket development back up

12 Mass Driver --E-mag fields accel. masses to high speeds --Newton's third law requires that the source mass will feel the reaction force --reaction force = ∆v --good for moving asteroids Mass driver on the moon, used to “throw rocks” back to Earth. TANSTAFL!

13 Problems of Terraforming Time --Terraforming cannot be achieved within a lifetime --process of thousands or even millions of years --will need constant funding, maintenance and stable government Ethics --Don't fully understand our own planet and are potentially doing irreparable damage to it. --Should other planets such as Mars be allowed to potentially evolve on their own? --Gaia hypothesis? --Does primitive life deserve to thrive on it's own without our changing of the climate to one that would probably be poisonous? --Would we recognize life that is unlike our form of life?

14 Reverse Jupiter Swing-by --objects in the outer solar system require less ∆v to change orbit to a more elliptical one, outer solar system objects would be much easier to move than a main belt asteroid

15 Possible Benefits --We will essentially become near omniscient in the workings of the Earth if we are going to try to replicate it. --We'd learn how to repair damage to our planet or change the climate if runaway greenhouse or deep-freeze likely to occur --We would probably learn how to deflect asteriods that are on a collision course. (e.g. Mass drivers)

16 Extraterrestrials? --If we become skilled terraformers, we will know the signs of terraforming and possibly detect it Dyson Motor --conceptual device to spin up a planet such as Venus or Mercury that is tidally locked --uses HUGE magnetic field to spin up planet, possibly detectable

17 Extraterrestrials? Array of space based mirrors for warming portions of planets. Perhaps the TPI could detect these, even larger mirrors than these are envisioned.

18 Dyson Sphere --gravitational signature, but no light from star escapes --mass if titanium: V * rho 8.48x10^23 * 4510= 3.82x10^27 kg --carbon: 2.98x10^27 kg to 2 Jupiters

19 Ring World --Large ring structure constructed around a star at approximately 1 AU --using Dyson sphere thickness of 3m and a height of 1,600,000 km with 1600km 1m thick walls --mass of Carbon ring: 1.59x10^22 kg Titanium ring: 2.04x10^22 kg Earth mass: 6.0x10^24 kg -still grandiose but much more realistic than Dyson sphere

20 More Extraterrestrials? --Terraforming untimately deals with the lifetime of a technological civilization --If they destroy their home planet's environment, they need someplace to go --Learn to better control climate of home planet to prevent ecological disasters, runaway greenhouse or perpetual ice age (Earth is on a precipice between the two) --Colonize the galaxy with the means of travel

21 Why Terraform? “ A map of the world that doesn not include Utopia is not even worth glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing. And when Humanity lands there, it looks out, and seeing a better country, sets sail. Progress is the realization of Utopias.” -Oscar Wilde --Everest syndrome --Botany Bay syndrome --Mayflower syndrome --Unemployed soldier syndrom --Wild West Syndrome

22 Bottom Line We'll never know what we're really capable of if we don't try!


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